AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “love”

Love in Translation

Ben and I are in Seoul right now. We decided to come here for various reasons. As many of you know, we had to flee Changwon, the city we were formerly living in. First, we decided to go south because Ben corresponded with someone on OkCupid living in Geoje City, which is just 2.5 hours south of Changwon. We spent the weekend there and got to go to the beach and the forest. Unfortunately, we were spending time with people who drank the entire night and that isn’t really our style, but otherwise, we had a good time.

We thought to come to Seoul because it seemed that we would get jobs in China and Seoul is much closer in that regard. We did indeed get hired by a university in China and are looking forward to that. We were also in contact with people on OkCupid from Seoul, including one who I will call Bryan. He is Korean and speaks English very well. Ben and I had to figure out where in Seoul to stay and Bryan said he could talk to his friend who knows about booking places in Seoul. We met Bryan 2 days ago and had a pleasant time. First we all ate lunch together. He was very helpful when we went to an Internet cafe to print off our Chinese contracts. Then he helped us move all of our luggage to a new hostel and took us out to dinner.

After dinner, Ben decided to go back to the hostel and I took a walk with Bryan. I should mention that during the afternoon, Bryan had told me he was interested in me and was affectionate. I was attracted to him too. We took a walk through Hongik University, close to the hostel Ben and I are staying at. While walking, Bryan asked me if I wanted to join him at a motel and I said yes. He asked me if I had any expectation in terms of sexuality and I asked him to clarify what he meant. He said, I feel like we have a connection, wouldn’t you agree? I said I felt like we had a bit of a connection and he felt turned off by that. I told him we didn’t know each other that well and I didn’t want to rush into anything.

Once we got to the motel, Bryan took a shower and I relaxed on the bed. Once sexy stuff started happening, it was fun and Bryan took his time, which was nice. After some time passed, he said to me, can I say something spooky to you? I said sure. He said, I love you. I asked him why exactly he loved me. He said, getting to have sex with someone like you is awesome. Now, dear readers, we can always separate love and sex. Bryan had given me the impression that he hadn’t had sex for a long time so I’m sure he enjoyed the intimacy. I do believe that one can fall in love quickly, but I think this was more of a case of lust… I’m not sure if we will meet again, but at the very least, we now have good stories to tell.

Ben and I will be in Seoul until next Tuesday. Who knows what adventures there will be until then… We have been invited to the country house of Ben’s interpreter at the immigration office in Changwon- she happens to be from Seoul and we met her on Monday. I feel very grateful for all the people who have helped us along the way on this trip! After staying at the country house, we plan to go to Hong Kong and stay on organic farms until we start working in China in October.

If you have any questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

More Out than Most

World Pride has just come to a close in Toronto. I marched in the parade with Polyamory Toronto along with thousands and thousands of other people. Among the people in our group was a good friend of mine, who was commending me for being so out about being poly. My ex of 8.5 years commented awhile ago that I’ve become a poly activist. Personally, polyamory makes sense to me. Humans were never meant to be monogamous, though I think there are some people for whom monogamy is better suited. There are also many people who are scared to be out as poly and there are some who can’t be out because of their work and/or families and friends. I feel lucky that I am able to be out. All of my friends and nearly my entire family knows I’m poly. I’ve never been able to hide the person I am and I can’t keep secrets; those are reasons why poly is definitely for me. For those who aren’t out and can be, I urge you to be so. The world will get easier for people like us if more poly people are out. The media is writing more and more about polyamory. Last week I went to the website of Psychology Today and polyamory was right there on the front. If this keeps up, I sincerely hope that in the coming years, being poly won’t be an issue.

Speaking of being more out, this also affects the way I have relationships. I recently started seeing someone named Tony. We’ve seen each other several times and it’s been really nice. I spent the night at his place over the weekend and when we woke up, I felt the urge to tell him that I love him. We’ve only known each other for a few weeks, so I know it’s very early, but I very much appreciate him and he appreciates me. I feel extremely lucky because I have these 2 wonderful guys who care about me and they aren’t jealous; they also know each other and get along. I did tell Tony that I nearly said I love you and that I know it’s too early. Thankfully, he didn’t say something like, you’re so intense, which some people have said to me in the past because I have shared my feelings. I feel a little bit sad because Ben and I have plans to go away for at least 1 year and I know I’ll miss Tony. Ben and I will most likely be going to Korea to teach English, maybe by the end of the summer. I’m really excited for us to have an adventure together, though I know I will miss everyone here and I’m not sure how easy it’ll be to be poly in Korea. We will see…

If you have any questions about any sort of relationship, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

Back to Basics

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the following 4 things: communication, time management, jealousy, and appreciation. In my mind, these are the 4 things you need to grasp as someone who’s in poly relationships. I will describe those 4 things below.

First, communication. Of course, you need communication in every type of relationship, be it with friends, in monogamy, or in polyamory. Some argue, especially in polyamory. I have written before that polyamory is more than anything a communication style. We have to be open about what and who we want, what kind of sex we want, etc. We also need to master, what I call, the art of the heads up. Say for example, you’re at a party with a partner. If you anticipate flirting with other people, let your partner know. You can let them know either before or during. If you get separated from each other and you flirt with someone else, you can let them know afterward. In polyamory, we often talk about “processing.” After something significant happens, we talk about it with our partner(s). So, you can see that communication is so important. For myself, I am a very verbal person. I like it when people tell me things and I like telling people things. Some of my friends know that it can be hard for me to keep my mouth shut. That’s one of the reasons why poly works for me. If I meet someone I like, I will tell my partner(s) and probably my friends as well.

Next, time management. If you have more than 1 relationship, scheduling can be an issue. For someone like me, it is especially a challenge because I like having hobbies; I play ultimate frisbee, I dance, and I write poetry. Plus, most of us need to work. There are only so many hours in a day! Last year, I saw a talk by Tristan Taormino, author of one of the poly bibles Opening Up. She said that a poly person must have invented Google calendar- it has lots of colours and different means of scheduling things. I have been in relationships with people who use it and I have to say, it’s so gratifying when you see their calendar and your name is on it. I try to schedule my time as fairly as I can. It can be difficult when people want to see me and I have to say no. Also, the amount of time you spend with people is often indicative of how important they are to you. Be sure to sit down with your partner(s) and see what they feel is fair.

Thirdly, jealousy. I have had both positive and negative experiences with it. By positive, I mean that it can show you how much you care about the person. However, if it takes over your life, it will feel very negative at times. In my experience, communication defeats jealousy. The more you talk about things, the better you will feel. A friend of mine said that defeating jealousy requires good communication and a healthy sense of self. If you can realize how important you are to your partner, jealousy should not be an issue. Your partner(s) should also be reminding you how important you are to them. We also have to realize how much love there is to go around. After all, one of the reasons we became poly was because we wanted to love, or at least have the opportunity to love, more than 1 person. Our culture sometimes reminds us that things are scarce, but love isn’t one of those things.

Finally, appreciation. Awhile back, I was with 2 people who complemented each other almost perfectly. I felt very fulfilled and as a bonus, the 2 of them got along very well. I reminded them as often as I could what I appreciated about them. In poly, everyone brings something to the table. I really wish we didn’t feel the need for hierarchy though this seems to naturally happen. Ideally, everyone should be recognized as bringing something unique into our lives. Secondaries should not be made to feel secondary. They ought to be recognized for who they are.

If you have any questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca  As always, thanks for reading! Please write in 🙂

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

When we speak of polyamory, we mean multiple loves, if you translate it literally. Since I was about 15, I have been fascinated by love. I loved observing couples on the Toronto subway and on the streets. I remember my mother encouraging me to read up on it and figure out what it means to me. Of course, I wouldn’t actually say those words until I was 18 and in my first serious relationship. My boyfriend at the time was somewhat shy and I was the one to bring it up and even then, it was actually in a phone conversation. Not that I was that shy at the time either, but definitely not as confident as I am now at age 30. I told him I was thinking about him and certain words came to my mind. He said, is it I love cereal? He loved cereal, and yes, he loved me. In my longest relationship to date, I wanted to say it just a few months in, but I knew it would not be reciprocated, so I waited. I would not say it until about 6 months into our relationship and even then, I had to wait a week before he said it back. That was quite a difficult week, but definitely worth the wait. At this point in my life, I don’t think the phrase need be reciprocated because it is perfectly acceptable for people to be at different points in the relationship. Sometimes I think I say those words quite easily because I feel comfortable with people fairly quickly. Of course, it shows the depth of my feelings for the other person and I don’t say it lightly.

So what is love anyway? Ben and I have similar definitions, unsurprisingly. It means no reservations. You know the person somewhat well and you take them as they are. We all have our foibles and when you love someone, you take them with their foibles and you don’t try to change them. A friend of mine also said that love means no ambiguities. You know where you stand. In that case, saying the words is almost optional. I am personally of the opinion that you don’t have to say the words all the time once they have been said, but it is of course nice to hear and be reminded.

At this point in my life, I want to be accepted for who I am. I told Ben that coming into this relationship, I resolved that I wouldn’t change myself for the other person’s benefit. As many of my readers know, many people have described me as intense. Personally, I think of myself as a very laidback person and I can tolerate a lot of things. I told Ben that I can be seen as intense because I express how I’m feeling. There are times when I hide things, but generally, people know what’s going on in my head and for some reason, that can be intimidating. I think that especially in the context of polyamory, you have to own how you are feeling. By putting your feelings out there, you may be making yourself vulnerable, but it will be to your benefit. If putting your feelings out there means saying I love you, I say go for it. It’s never too early or too late to let someone know how you feel.

 

Post Navigation